Five must-watch new originals to binge when you need a break

Chris Burdick, Podcast Editor

Since the closing of theaters due to the coronavirus pandemic, streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max have been successfully filling the void with their own releases of original content to keep all of us entertained while secluded at home.  

With each new original movie released by these streaming platforms, it seems the production value and quality of these movies are increasing as well. And although it is hard to replace that feeling of watching a good movie in the theater, it’s hard to say that these new releases aren’t every bit as entertaining. So these are 5 new original releases from streaming sites that can help you scratch that itch for just a bit longer before theaters can re-open with new content.  

An American Pickle- HBO Max/Comedy 

Adapted from the popular three-part New Yorker novella “Sell Out” by Simon Rich, this film is an interesting past meets future comedy movie that is carried almost single-handedly by its star Seth Rogan.  

Rogan plays Herschel Greenbaum, a hardworking Orthodox Jewish immigrant from the year 1919 that has an unfortunate accident which causes him to fall into a giant barrel of pickle brine which perfectly preserves him for 100 years, and Ben Greenbaum, Herschel’s great-grandson and aspiring app designer who has a more millennial look at the world.  

Although labeled a comedy, this film tends to take a serious turn on multiple occasions and those moments can feel like the film maybe taking itself too seriously. But Rogan’s ability to make the viewer believe the banter between the two characters is organic is what helps the movie shine. This movie will not necessarily stick out in Rogan’s catalog of popular comedy roles; it is every bit as entertaining to watch the Greenbaum’s learn to cope with life with one another.   

Project Power- Netflix/ Action

A new drug known as “Power” hits the streets of modern-day New Orleans, Louisiana and begins to give the users superpowers for a 5-minute period. But those powers have a cost, and it is not cheap.  

Netflix’s newest superhero action film stars Dominique Fishback as young drug dealer named Robin looking to make money quick to take care of her ailing mother, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Frank, a determined New Orleans Detective looking to even the odds against the criminals using the drugs to take over the city, and Jamie Foxx as Art, an ex-Army Ranger on a manhunt for the drug’s source.  

The three must work together to stop the distribution of this drug before its manufacturers can take it global. The films underlining messages of finding one’s individual gifts and the underline cost of the use of drugs are what will keep your attention throughout along with the outstanding personalities of its stars. By the end of this film, it will have you wondering, “What’s your power?” 

We Are Freestyle Love Supreme- Hulu/ Documentary

A fun watch for anyone that is a fan of musical theatre, improv, or hip-hop music. We Are Freestyle Love Supreme is a Hulu original documentary that follows writer and star of the Tony award-winning show Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, its Director Thomas Kail, and some of the performers of Hamilton and In the Heights such as Christopher Jackson and Anthony Veneziale and the rest of their improvisational hip-hop theatre group, Freestyle Love Supreme.  

The documentary is an inspirational look into the group before the fame of Hamilton or In the Heights and shows the group’s roots. Beginning their journey together doing small shows on their hand-made stage in a book store in 2005 and follows them through to their rise to fame all the way to the reunion in 2019 for a few shows in New York City before taking the show to the Booth Theatre on Broadway.  

This documentary is a must-see for anyone who is a fan of Lin-Manuel Miranda or his popular show Hamilton, which is viewable on Disney Plus. It will take you into the relationships that have grown between the group members, and show the origins of Miranda’s and Kail’s inspirations for their unique brand of hip-hop theatre.  

The Umbrella Academy: Season 2- Netflix/ fantasy/ Series 

Everyone’s favorite dysfunctional family of superpowered siblings are back and definitely better than ever. The popular Netflix series based on the popular graphic novel of the same, name created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, has returned for its second season and brought with it the great dark humor that the first season was known for.  

Season two follows the seven Hargreeves siblings after their jump back in time, as they find themselves separated from each other and scattered across 1960-1963 Dallas, Texas. After learning that they have brought the end of the world back with them, the Academy has no choice but to reunited and try to find a way back to their appropriate time before they disrupt up the timeline.  

This comes with a variety of weird situations for the siblings to get into including cult followers, time-traveling assassins, and even the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. And once again being paired with an incredible soundtrack with a blend of both the 1960s and modern music; this season is easily the hottest series from Netflix this summer and is so much fun that you can’t help but binge-watch it. By the end will have you begging for a season three. 

Black is King- Disney Plus/Visual Album

Disney Plus’ newest addition to its vault of original content is a musical film directed, written, produced, and starred in by Beyonce. This visual album is meant to be a pairing with her 2019 album The Lion King: The Gift which was made for the live-action remake of the popular Disney movie of the same name.  

The story is very similar to The Lion King as well, as it shows a young African king who is sent away into an unforgiving world. It’s about a journey of finding his own self- identity in order to return for his throne. But it’s the music and the message of the film that makes Black is King a visually stunning work of art; That shows the beauty and strength of African culture. 

These are just some of the great originals to choose from on each of these streaming services. And while the theaters are still figuring out ways to reopen while following California guidelines, it seems that everyone may have to wait a bit longer to see the next big cinematic film on the big screen. But it seems that these streaming services will be stepping up to give that great source of entertainment for anyone looking for something new to enjoy until then.